Aim. This paper reports a study estimating the nationwide prevalence of and attitudes towards smoking among Japanese nursing students.
Background. The World Health Organization established ‘World No Tobacco Day’ in 1987, and has been promoting antismoking measures worldwide since then, with annual themes. It has emphasized that health care professionals, including nurses, as role models for healthy living, should not smoke, and that as promoters of health education they should not seem to justify or condone their patients’ smoking. To promote antismoking measures among nurses, it will be necessary to scrutinize the smoking habits and behavior of nursing students and associated factors, and to conduct effective antismoking education and health education before they acquire the smoking habit.
Methods. A cross-sectional survey was carried out through self-administered, closed-ended, structured questionnaires. Questionnaires were mailed to 4169 nursing students at 27 randomly selected vocational nursing schools nationwide. Smoking status, history, and attitudes towards smoking were examined.
Results. Smoking prevalence among female nursing students was 23·5%, which was higher than that among the Japanese general female population aged 20–29 (21·9%). Smoker-students were significantly more positive toward smoking than non-smokers in all opinions about health care professionals’ smoking. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that smoking statuses of the people around the participants, dissatisfaction with being a nursing student, and living alone were associated with participants’ smoking behaviour.
Conclusions. The results of the present study suggest an urgent necessity to provide effective antismoking measures for nursing students.